Trapped on Railay Beach: Thailand

Our last day in Thailand has dawned and it is time to leave Ko Phi Phi and head into Krabi. I love our peaceful little resort so much that I have a hard time leaving. We enjoy a breakfast at a rustic little table, and then we are off to the ferry again. Goodbye my beautiful little beach!

We take a longboat taxi to the ferry station.   

Hope you don’t drop your cell phone between these floor boards.

When we get to the pier  Johann and David buy our tickets for the ferry to the mainland. We get the tickets much cheaper here than at our resort.

I take a parting shot of the the downtown area on Phi Phi island.   

And a closing shot of a row of boats parked on the beach waiting for the morning to get into full swing.   
I see this sign. I am not sure what you are supposed to do with the shopping cart.   

The ferry is super crowded again…..standing room only…..


When we land we decide to take a taxi to Aonang beach and set off to find a hotel. Our taxi driver initially drops us off at his sister’s hotel. As she is walking us up to show the rooms, she suddenly screams and jumps back. She had nearly stepped on a snake that actually looked exactly like a stick. I would never have known it was a snake. Ish. We decide not to stay there, but that means a chore is ahead of us yet……trying to find a hotel. Of course you know we are looking in the wrong place if we are walking along the beach. This area has expensive hotels!

Finally we come upon the Aonang Smile Hotel. The hotel owner is at the desk and is very willing and able to negotiate with us. We get rooms again for about $18 each x 3. What a deal!


I have seen towels folded into all kinds of cute configurations in advertisements for hotels in this part of the world. This is the first time I have actually seen one folded this nicely.


We make the decision that we are going to go to Railay Beach. The woman at the longboat ticket booth is decidedly nasty. She insists that we must buy tickets from her for both directions. There is a problem, though. I have read that Railey beach has bioluminiscense on the beach at night, and we want to stay until after dark. The boat company we are contracting with has service until 6 pm, but will send a boat out to get us later if we pay an additional 50 baht per person to be picked up, which is payable directly to the boat operator. 

We still think it makes more sense for us to buy a one way ticket to Railay Beach and then buy a ticket back from there, but the agent is persistent in her nastiness and we have no choice but to buy her tickets.

When we depart it is a bit wavy on the beach, which makes climbing into the longboat a bit of a challenge.   

We arrive at West Railay, which is a beautiful place.   

We walk around to the other side to East Railay. This side is not so nice. There are mangroves on this beach, and it is smelly. This seems to be where most of the hotels are.

Cave Beach is awesome!


David brings the kids to see the caves while I guard our stuff.


We head out and decide we are going to hike up to the lookout.

The path goes basically straight up. Ropes are very helpful in this instance.

The views from the top are awesome.   

It is a jungle out there.     

On East Railay the water is shallow. In order to get guests on the longboat a tractor drives into the water. I would imagine these tractors will rust very quickly.


They say in Thailand you are supposed to try sticky mango rice. I can see why it is recommended…..

The sun sets and I am hugely disappointed that there is no bioluminescence in the water. But the bigger problem is not the lack of bioluminescence, but rather that we do not see a boat waiting for us from the boat company. They are supposed to be here! We should have left before 6pm!  

A boat does finally pull up and everyone piles on board, but the driver says that we must pay 150 baht each even though we already  have tickets. They are with an other company he explains, and we must wait until morning to go back to the person who sold us the original tickets and get a refund. 

It smells of a scam so everyone gets off the boat again and we decide to wait and see if a boat from our company will come. In the meantime, a couple other boats pull up and the man tells the boat operators something in Thai. It seems to me that he is telling them that we are his customers, so don’t negotiate with us. 

We wait on the beach. And wait.


The boat never does come. In the meantime it is getting late and we are wasting time. When I calculate the cost in US dollars for the tickets I suddenly realize that this is pretty silly! We are wasting time over $24. Let’s just get on board and get back to our hotel. We do some more negotiating with the boat dude, and he comes down in his price to 1000 baht. 

It is spooky riding in a longboat in the open sea. I don’t know how the driver knows where he is going. 

Suddenly we have reason to be really spooked out! The driver passes right by the area where we are supposed to be going! There is a large outcropping of rock cliffs up ahead and he turns out towards the open sea to go past it.

“Hey! You went past!”, we  yell loudly. The man cannot hear over the roar of the engine. We point wildly towards the beach where we should have been left off, which is fading away fast from our sight. 

“We are supposed to go over there!!”

Now what? Another body dumping situation? 

Finally he hears us and yells back in broken English. From what we can understand the water at the beach where we should have been let off in is too rough, so he is going to a more sheltered area behind the cliffs. The water does not seem that rough.

What fool gets into a boat in the dark with some random dude in some random country with large sums on money and valuables on them? This was a dumb idea!

We go around the rocky cliffs, and the boat does indeed head towards shore, and we are left off on the beach. Honestly I think that the reason he does not want to drop us off at the normal place is because he is not planning to share his 1000 baht with the tour company that he works for. He does not want them to know that he brought a big group of people back from Railey and that’s why we get dropped off in this random beach area. 

Oh well, it doesn’t matter. We are safe. We didn’t get stuck on Railay overnight. We stop at a street market again to grab dinners.


We are well rested in the morning. We have breakfast just down the street, and then head over to the boat company’s ticket booth to see if we can indeed get refunds on our return tickets from yesterday.

The unpleasant woman (I would use the “b” word, but this is a family show) at the ticket booth remembers us from yesterday. When we ask for a refund she is hostile, and says that the driver went out to pick us up but we were not there. We know this is a lie, but this unpleasant woman wants to keep her 800 baht. It is about to get ugly.

We already have a plan in mind. If she does not cooperate we will go across the street to the tourist police. They are supposed to protect tourists from precisely this type of rip offs.

Suddenly a man who was watching the saga unfold came up to the ticket booth. He stuck his finger in the woman’s face and told her that he remembers us from yesterday, and that she refused to sell us one way tickets, and no boat was sent to pick us up.

The woman was visibly shaken at this, and her demeanor changed instantaneously, her hand very quickly reached into the money drawer and she drew out 800 baht in the blink of an eye. She thanked us for our business. We walk away very pleased to have our money back because we need it for the taxi ride to the airport.

This time we are off to Singapore! And I have an amazing surprise in store for my husband when we arrive!

0 thoughts on “Trapped on Railay Beach: Thailand

  1. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading about your adventures and look forward to the next post! What an incredible experience you are having, thanks for sharing!

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